About Susan K. Salzer

A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Susan K. Salzer has worked as a newspaper reporter, editor for Mizzou, and freelance journalist. She started writing fiction in 1996, has published western fiction in literary magazines, and had a short story appear in Westward (Forge Books, 2003).

Up From Thunder is her first full length novel. Salzer lives in Columbia with her husband and four children.

Up From Thunder

For 16-year-old Hattie Rood, Mr. Lincoln's War has brought nothing but death and hardship. She has lost one brother to a Yankee sharpshooter, another is away fighting with the Confederate army, and her aging father is barely able to keep the family tobacco farm going. One hot August night in 1864, Hattie's life takes another dramatic turn when rebel bushwhackers bring a wounded Jesse James to the Rood farmhouse, to recover or die. During the next four weeks, as she nurses 17-year-old Jesse back to health, Hattie learns about herself, the lawlessness of war, and— most importantly— the character of the wounded boy she comes to love.

Based on actual events, Up From Thunder explores the uniquely savage Civil War in Missouri —a conflict that pitted guerillas led by men like "Bloody Bill" Anderson and William Quantrill against Jayhawkers and often unscrupulous Federal forces. It also examines the ways in which these desperate events and personalities shaped the lives of young Missourians like Hattie Rood, caught in the crossfire.

The seed of Salzer’s novel was a short story entitled “Cornflower Blue,” for which she received the 2009 Spur Award (Western Writers of America) for Best Short Fiction.

Praise for Up From Thunder

"Like Daniel Woodrell's Woe to Live On and Michael Zimmer's Dust and Glory, Susan K. Salzer's Up From Thunder captures the essence, heartbreak and humor of western Missouri during the Civil War. Up From Thunder is a tremendous debut, and Hattie Rood is an engaging heroine." -- Johnny D. Boggs, Spur Award-winning author of Northfield and Camp Ford

"In Hattie Rood, Susan K. Salzer has created a vibrant character-a young woman who learns the true meanings of courage, honor and love, in the world around her and in herself, all set against the horrific backdrop of Missouri’s guerilla wars. Hattie is a great character, and Up from Thunder is a wonderful novel I won’t soon forget." --Thomas Cobb, author of Crazy Heart and Shavetail

"In Up from Thunder, Susan K. Salzer writes with a fresh and authentic voice about the brutal turmoil in Missouri during the Civil War. Amid bushwhackers, freebooters, Jayhawkers, guerrillas, ruffians, and rascals, young Hattie Rood’s care for the wounded teenager, Jesse James, forms an imperiled eye in the storm of war." --Lucia St. Clair Robson, author of Ghost Warrior and Ride the Wind